From THE AGE (Australia):

The problem crept under Muriel Porter's radar. The first the veteran Anglican women's activist noticed, it was at last year's Melbourne synod when a minister proposed a motion about the need to attract young men to church. Someone else moved to add "and young women"—and it was defeated. Then she began hearing uncomfortable stories about young women being told they were defying God in wanting to become priests, that it was a role reserved for men, that the "headship" teaching
was on the march. Women were being discouraged, even intimidated. Porter was shocked. For decades Melbourne had been the diocese most supportive of women priests, and the issue seemed long resolved. But now, in the Anglican Church and in others, it seems to be a divisive issue once again, with a backlash unleashed and gaining ground.

The question is broader than whether women can be priests and exercise leadership over men, though that is usually how it is framed inside the church. It concerns all the roles women play in the church and in the home, where the once-traditional idea that they should submit to their husbands is gaining fresh traction.

Porter says the change in Melbourne and elsewhere is due to a rising number of hard-line young Melbourne ministers who are strongly influenced by resurgent conservatism in the United States. She says they are "very masculine and horrified by what they call the 'chickification' of Christianity".

According to Kevin Giles, a Melbourne evangelical minister and veteran of the fight for women's equality within the church, the issue is "about power—who has it and who doesn't, who determines how the Scriptures should be read".

According to Giles, the debate is not about whether women can "minister". He says: "Everyone is in favour of women's ministry, because that can be anything—even making tea. The real key is leadership, headship. The debate is full of code words, but unpacked it means men lead, women obey."

Giles blames the increasingly confident assertion of headship doctrine on the influence of the Sydney diocese—Australia's largest and most powerful, and a staunch advocate of headship—and the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students, which is influential in universities around the nation.

Muriel Porter is steeling herself for battle once more.

"I'm heartbroken that this reaction has emerged, and sad that I and my friends have to take up this cause again that we thought was safely accomplished. And we will take it up again. We are not simply going to acquiesce in the undoing of 25 years of our life's work."

COMMENT: Complimentarianism and other misogynist theologies will maintain their Satanic influence on the Church for as long as all parties in the Church cling onto the perverted understanding of Christ's headship that has been the main paradigm for Christian leadership since, at least, the time of Constantine.

When the likes of Mark Driscoll complain about the "chickification" of Christianity and call for a more "masculine" religion they are, in fact, replacing the true nature of Christ with a messiah formed in their own image. They are the modern equivalent of the zealots and orthodox Jews of First Century Palestine who could not accept Christ as their Lord because he swung no sword and preached the gospel of a non-militant triumph of good over evil.

The Lamb of God is an anathema to the macho posers of conservative evangelicalism.

Go read the rest of this article! It's a wake up call that we all need to hear if we are to avoid complacency and eventual defeat.



  1. There’s a paragraph in the full article that says that in any other sphere of life, men with these views would simply be laughed at.
    Why on earch aren’t women and their supporters simply laughing at them now instead of giving them houseroom?
    If you let people walk all over you they will.

  2. There’s also another statement about young women not even bothering to get involved with the church when they see how restricted they will be in playing any serious role in leadership. So like fundamentalist Islam and the more rigid fundies elsewhere, the evangelical wing of the Anglican church will ultimately see growth limited in the future. Much of the growth now is from people who hate and fear change, and use the church as a bulwark against change, the one place they can hold onto their ancient misogynist view. I hope God loves irony….. Women were largely responsible for expanding and supporting the early Christian church, and were leaders of some of the local churches (“Phoebe’s people”?), but as usual the men euchred them out of their rightful place as partners because it all became about power, fairly early in the game. These churches may be growing now; try again in 20-30 years. Even the Southern Baptists in the US are worried about their declining numbers.

  3. I think she thought I was trouble, to be honest, so I wouldn’t hold it against her too hard, Mad Priest.

  4. Porter said “if evangelicals understood their history, they would advocate an equal role for women in church” .

    19th century women missionaries generally taught school at all levels. Some of the earliest college level institutions to admit women were created and staffed by Protestant women missioners. My alma mater has a sister school in India, and was one of the leading producers of teacher-missioners.

    Few women preached in 19th century America, but larger numbers appeared in revivals, “Chatauquas” hosted by denominations, and other non-church venues.

    The first Pentecostal church, Azusa Street Mission in L.A. (1906), had a husband and wife co-pastoral team, and she ran the church as sole pastor after his death. Many women had occasional preaching opportunities at revivals, some became popular, and one became a superstar in the 1920s and 1930s, Aimee Semple McPherson. She was the Billy Graham of her time, with regard to attendance at revivals.